Jump Dash Roll's Mobile Roundup #18 - August 2019
A wistful wind of nostalgia wafts through this month’s mobile roundup! Let’s pick up our pocket rectangles and see what this month has to offer...
Alt-Frequencies (iOS, Android)
In its previous pair of games A Normal Lost Phone and Another Lost Phone, French developer Accidental Queens managed to successfully infuse stories of misplaced mobiles with drama and intrigue. Now, they’re back and looking to pull the same trick with the humble radio, with a dash of sci-fi weirdness on top. The stations are awash with talk of a mysterious time loop, which is apparently in effect as the screen fades to white and resets after a certain amount of time has elapsed. As a listener who is somehow able to retain memory between loops, you have to sift out key pieces of information from the normal DJ banter and use it to change and ultimately break the loop. The usual show archetypes are covered, from the smarmy, condescending talk show host to the bright and bubbly pop DJ, and the voice acting is enthusiastic, if a little stilted. The look and feel of each station is accurately presented and although it adds up to a somewhat short experience, this is another intriguing game from a developer who has established itself as a maker of groundbreaking mobile content.
SSC 2019 (iOS, Android)
In the days before the hyper-realistic player models and camera angles of FIFA and PES, video gaming footie fans had to make do with top-down teeny-pixel players in games like Sensible Soccer, Kick Off and World Cup Italia ‘90. Although their realism was lacking, many people have fond memories of them and this latest entry in the Super Soccer Champs series does a fine job of recreating the look and feel of small scale soccer.
The on-screen controls aren’t too intrusive given the size of the player sprites, and the teams themselves have a good sense of movement and inertia. Unfortunately there are no official licenses, but you’re not going to find that outside of a big-budget title. Single friendlies can be played through, but the meat of the game is in the full-on manager mode where you can guide a team to victory in the league by trading and training players in between matches.
Lemmings (iOS, Android)
Speaking of fondly-remembered tiny sprites, the adorably dumb rodent stars of the quintessential puzzle game of the ‘90s have finally made the jump to mobile. Some good design decisions have been made to accommodate the reduced size; levels have been redesigned for the vertical screen, and actions are now assigned to squares on the map instead of individual lemmings. Unfortunately, corporate overlords Sony have crammed the game chock full of nasty microtransactions in the worst example of exploitative nostalgia since Dungeon Keeper Mobile.
It’s technically possible to play without ponying up, but every other screen on the menu is an invitation to buy some worthless secondary in-game currency. With a single up-front cost this could have been a fresh take on a genre classic, but as it stands, it needs to be shown the cliff-edge.
Rogue Legacy (iOS)
Originally released on Steam way back in the heady days of 2013, this medieval-themed platformer was part of a clutch of indie games like Spelunky, FTL and The Binding Of Isaac which repopularised the roguelike genre. A brave knight must enter a randomly-generated castle to fight and slay monsters, until they probably die (unless you’re very good at games).
At this point the conceit of the game reveals itself and it is up to the next in your family line to take up the challenge and avenge their doomed progenitor. They will inherit some characteristics from the previous player but also have some random ones, from the useful (increased speed or health) to the not-so-useful (color blindness). In between castle-exploring romps you can upgrade your family manor and your stats to give your next hero offspring an edge. As a platformer on mobile it is weighed down with the fiddliness of on-screen buttons, but if you haven’t checked it out before now, this is something of a modern indie classic.